Role of Integrated Marketing Communication (IMC) in Branding
Marketing programs play an important role in building up of brand equity. These marketing programs are related to product, price and distribution channels. And these programs are necessary to create brand image and also to build brand awareness. This task is done through medium of marketing communication, in its most form is advertising. Marketing communication is essential in establishing point of similarity, as well point of difference with competition, making an impression in consumer’s mind leading to development of strong consumer based brand equity and also to develop long- lasting relationship.
Marketing communication needs to be flexible in current technology driven environment where consumer are internet savvy and have access to information. Traditional communication avenues like TV ads have to undergo subtle changes. Advent of digital video recorders has seen consumer watching their favorite program post actual telecast. But a trend observed here is that consumes tend to skip ads in recorded program. If that is the case than fortune spent of getting spots won’t translate into effective communication. Today’s youth tend to spend more time playing video games and not on watching television. So communication developed should follow certain criteria to prove its effectiveness.
For marketing communication to be effective in conveying its message a simple cycle has to be understood. Marketers need to understand the present state of brand awareness and brand image within consumer’s mind and then ask question, do they want to be in current state. Now design communication in whatever form required that will take to desired level, while clearly stating similarity and difference from competitors. Finally, research consumers to understand whether desire effect or brand knowledge has been created.
There are various marketing options available to marketers. Each option has its own strength and weakness. Advertisement is one the most common form of marketing communication; this can be done through television, radio, magazines, newspaper, direct approach, etc. Television is good medium to target large audience and greater geographical area, thereby reducing dollar cost per customer. However this medium can be expensive and may not create a strong impact. Radio on other hand has lesser geographical coverage and audience, thereby creating focus on selective audience and reducing cost. However radio again can only have audio and cannot grab attention the way visuals can. Magazines and newspaper can provide good coverage with greater information content. However it is just visual and may not generate desirable consumer response. Other form of marketing communication are direct marketing which includes door to door, phone calls and mail, then, marketing at point of purchase through cut outs and display, another way through billboards which can have both visual as well as audio.
Marketers also extensively use promotional activity for marketing communications. These are of two types’, consumer promotion and trade promotion. Consumer promotion can be in form of sampling, evident at malls and super market, another way by providing coupons and various other schemes. Trade promotion is targeted for channel partner like retailers, distributors and these could be in form cash incentives etc.
To design a complete marketing communication program, marketers have to ensure that they are able to establish connection with consumer and able to effectively communicate about brand, there by creating a strong brand awareness and image. This will ensure in creating a strong consumer based brand equity.